Missouri bill allowing sports betting goes to Senate after House approval

The Missouri House of Representatives passed House Committee Substitute (HSC) bills HB 556 and HB 581 on Wednesday that would bring legal sports betting to the state. The bill, approved by a House vote of 118-35, now moves forward to the Senate for approval. The bill has always stalled in the Senate over recent years.

The Missouri Gaming Association praises House members

“On behalf of the Missouri casino Industry, we thank Rep. Dan Houx and Phil Chrsitofanelli, sponsors of HCS HB 556 and 581, and the House of Representatives for passing the sports betting bill,” MGA said. The bill is also backed by Missouri professional sports teams.

The current bill language shows a 10% tax rate would be imposed on sports bets. Discussions are already underway about increasing the tax rate to 15% or 21% to get the bill passed through the Senate. Tax dollars generated from sports betting would go to the state’s education fund and be monitored by Missouri Gaming Commission.

Under the bill, the plan is to allow mobile sports betting as well as in-person wagering at casinos, professional stadiums, and arenas.

The Bill a Logical Follow Up to Kansas Legislation

Many Kansas City Chiefs fans in Missouri were blocked from betting on the team’s victory in the Super Bowl in February.

Neighbor state Kansas online sports betting launched in September, but the Kansas City Chiefs’ stadium—and many of its fans—are in Missouri, where sports betting is not yet legal. Missourians made attempts to access legal sportsbooks in other states a quarter-of-a-million times and were blocked from betting.

If signed into law, the 2023 sports betting bill would bring Missouri in line with its neighboring state.

Legalization Dates for Surrounding States

  • Arkansas – Nov. 6, 2018
  • Iowa – May 13, 2019
  • Tennessee – May 24, 2019
  • Illinois – June 28, 2019
  • Kansas – May 12, 2022
  • Nebraska – May 26, 2021
  • Oklahoma – Not legal yet.
  • Kentucky – Not legal yet.

Missouri Not a Stranger to Gambling

Gambling in the Show Me State is nothing new. There are 13 casinos operating in the state currently that support 19,987 jobs and provide an economic impact of $3.45 billion, according to the American Gaming Association. Casino taxes are the fifth largest source of revenue in the state of Missouri.

The state’s sports betting bill in 2022 died due to proponents of video lottery terminals (VLT) who hoped to include the machines in the bill, collect taxes from betting action, and regulate a market for the games.

VLTs, also known as “gray machines,” are unregulated gambling machines found in gas stations, restaurants, and convenience stores.

The MGA made a clear statement to keep VLTs and online casinos out of the current sports betting bill.

“As the Senate takes up the bill, we urge Senators to keep issues unrelated to sports betting from being added to the bill,” MGA said. “These unrelated issues have brought sports betting legislation down in the past and would likely do so again. Our citizens deserve and are ready to join our nation’s capital and the 36 states that have passed sports betting and kept tax dollars in their state.”

Political Editor

Keith Stein is a freelance journalist based in Virginia. He has experience in freelance writing, full-time journalism and supporting monthly and weekly news publications. He has also worked as a contributing writer with United Press International.